How do we win?” was the question posed by highly successful and respected Australian Rules Football coach Paul Roos to his team.
It is a surprisingly powerful four word question that forced his players to identify the aspects of their complex performance that had the most positive impact on them winning.
The data analytics available in elite sports enabled Roos’ team to select half a dozen elements that were critical. This didn’t mean the players could ignore other aspects of the game, but it did shine a spotlight on the few that really mattered.
Focussing on select aspects of their performance did not guarantee a winning game on every occasion, however, their chances of winning went up significantly when they delivered on the key elements.
Translating this idea into your team could be equally powerful.
Even if you work for a public sector agency or not-for- profit group, the process of selecting key aspects of your service delivery that have the most impact on achieving a government contract or mission could be invaluable.
Defining how you win creates some pillars that support all the other actions and decisions.
Ask each of your team members “Is what you are doing now contributing to one of the pillars of our success?”
It is rare that organisations have access to the same quality and quantity of data as those in professional sport. However, leaders should seek to make decisions on how they win with the backing of some evidence and data.
Without this data, assumptions and the loudest voices prevail, risking the adoption of inaccurate measures and a derailment of the overall purpose.
Treat the conversation over how you win as an ongoing process where ideas are tested and evidence is gathered to support or question the dimensions of winning.
Over time, you will collect a significant number of data points to show how you win actually means you do win.
One more small step in the next 24 hours
Next time you meet with your team, start the conversation with “How do we win?”.
Ask the team to identify the behaviours or actions that have the most positive impact on your team achieving its ambitions.
It is likely that a seemingly small number of keystone actions can only happen if a range of other factors are in place.
It is these keystone actions that define how you win.
What impact could this action have on your leadership success?
How likely is it you could implement this action successfully?